U.s. Senate

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U.S. Senate
(Tina Larkin)
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If Rep. Tom Udall is elected as one of New Mexico’s two senators, he would bring his brand of moderate pragmatism to the table. He was the state’s attorney general in the ’90s and has been a congressperson in the House of Representatives since 1998. He’s worked on bipartisan efforts to preserve wilderness in New Mexico.

If Udall finds himself warming a seat in the Senate, you can expect him to support drilling along the Outer Continental Shelf. Known for his environmental work, Udall surprisingly supports the removal of the moratorium on offshore drilling, though he says the federal government needs set guidelines on where to drill. Because drilling would require big investments, it will do nothing to drop gas prices immediately. Instead, says Udall, it’s part of a larger energy strategy.

He’s talking about expanding existing nuclear facilities, backing forceful conservation efforts and funding research into renewable sources like wind and solar.

Similarly, Udall takes a cautious approach to health care. As a senator, he would support building upon the employer-sponsored system that exists in the United States. He also supports prevention efforts, like decreasing junk foods in schools and emphasizing physical education courses. Cutting inefficiency in the insurance industry is also key. A nationalized single-payer system will probably not make it through Congress, he says, and therefore, we have to start with smaller steps.

Unemployment benefits are usually extended when the country’s in a recession, he says, and they should continue to expand until the economy starts swinging up again. Tax incentives should be offered to companies that create jobs on U.S. soil.

Udall’s stance on the war in Iraq is similar to Sen. Barack Obama’s, so you can count on him to support the efforts of the
Alibi’s pick for president. Focusing the mission by creating a deadline for withdrawal is Udall’s strategy. He didn’t vote to go into Iraq, though he did vote to enter Afghanistan.

In a time when politicians are talking and thinking big, it’s hard to say whether Udall’s middle-of-the-road approach is hesitant or realistic. Still, his record of service is impressive, and we know he’ll get things done when he’s in office. His plans—though not as bold as we might have hoped—are much closer than Steve Pearce’s to what we’d like to see in our immediate future. We give our hearty endorsement to Tom Udall.

If it were Rep.
Steve Pearce ‘s feet that filled Sen. Pete Domenici’s shoes, he would walk stiffly into the Senate a rigid conservative. Pearce served in the House of Representatives from 1997 until 2000, when he tried for a Senate seat. He lost and re-entered the House in 2002 when Rep. Joe Skeen retired. He introduced legislation in 2007 to legally protect citizens who report others to security and says national security is the most important issue in the United States today.

Pearce made his fortune with an oil field services company called Lea Fishing Tools. He says drilling is the answer to high gas prices and that the country is 20 to 30 years away from a renewable energy economy. He’s all about nuclear and more oil refineries. Pearce voted against tax incentives for renewables in the past.

If Pearce grabs the Senate seat, he’ll vote against a national health care plan. Instead, he says small businesses need to band together to get decent insurance rates for their employees. Tax breaks, he says, will stimulate the economy.

As a Vietnam Air Force veteran, Pearce is against setting a timetable for withdrawing troops from Iraq. "We’re either going to fight the war here or there," he says.

He’s a straight-shooting guy and never tried to soften his positions during his interview with the
Alibi . Still, we find Pearce’s policies and voting record appalling and hope you keep him far away from the Senate.


Job Description: Crafts and debates national legislation, votes to confirm federal and U.S. Supreme Court justices. Each state has only two U.S. senators.

Term: Six years (no term limit)

Salary: $169,300

Tom Udall, Democrat

Website: tomudall.com

1) What experience makes you qualified for this position?

My entire career has been spent in public service working to do what’s right for New Mexico. As Attorney General, I protected consumers against fraud and fought on behalf of our state’s most vulnerable citizens. I made fighting DWI and domestic violence a priority and worked to enact tougher laws against offenders. I increased transparency and didn’t hesitate to go after corrupt politicians, even if they were from my own party. As a Congressman, I’ve led on key issues like energy and veterans. As a member of the Veterans Affairs Committee, I worked for increased health and education benefits for our nation’s veterans. And on the Appropriations Committee, I obtained valuable funding for projects across the state.

2) Please list specifics on what you will do for New Mexicans in regard to:

a. The Economy

There is no question our economy is facing a serious crisis. Congress has a lot of work to do but cannot follow the same do-nothing, always-deregulate Bush economic policies that got us into this mess. In the Senate, I will continue to work toward solutions that protect the American middle class and taxpayers. We should allow responsible homeowners to renegotiate their mortgages, ensure the executives whose reckless behavior helped cause this mess don’t walk away with golden parachutes and consider a second stimulus package that gives Main Street a boost even if Wall Street is suffering. Finally, we need to provide additional oversight and fix the laws that regulate our financial industry so this never happens again.

b. The Iraq War

In Congress, I voted against the use of force in Iraq but I supported going into Afghanistan to find the terrorists who attacked us. In the Senate, I will work toward a responsible end to the Iraq War so we can concentrate on fighting a resurgent Al-Qaeda and Iraq can continue on the path toward peace and reconciliation. In Congress, I supported one of the New G.I. Bills, and in the Senate I will continue to ensure that our troops get the best health care and education we can afford when they come home.

c. Energy

I believe this country needs a “Do It All” energy policy that increases domestic drilling, invests heavily in alternative energy, increases nuclear power production, breaks our dependence on foreign oil and moves us toward a new energy economy. In Congress I have been a leader on energy, introducing a renewable electricity standard that would require utilities to produce 15 percent of their electricity from renewable sources by 2020. States like New Mexico that are rich in sunshine, wind and geothermal resources stand to benefit enormously from renewable energy investment, which will also create new, good-paying jobs here in New Mexico and put us on a path toward solving the problem of global warming.

d. Health Care

In Congress, I am proud to have passed additional funding for health care for our veterans, including care for the signature injuries of the Iraq war—traumatic brain injury and post-traumatic stress disorder. In the Senate, I will work to make quality and affordable health care available to all Americans. We should allow individuals over 55 to buy into Medicare, allow small businesses to buy into the same health care plans I have in Congress, work on preventative health initiatives to cut overall costs, allow government to negotiate for lower drug prices and increase funding for children’s health insurance.

Steve Pearce, Republican

Website: peopleforpearce.com

Did not respond to questionnaire.

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